AD, student honored at M’ville school board meeting

MARYSVILLE – School district athletic director Greg Erickson and Marysville-Pilchuck High School junior Edgar Martinez shared the stage at the school board meeting Monday night.

Erickson humbly accepted the honor of being named to the Hall of Fame by the Washington Secondary School Athletic Administrators. He made it sound like he didn’t do anything.

“It’s not about me,” he said, choking and tearing up. “People like me don’t get recognized like this without great people around us.”

He gave credit to his wife and family, other coaches, students, parents and support staff such as his secretary, grounds and maintenance people and the custodians.

“It’s a team award for a group of very special people,” he said.

Edgar was honored for being one of 15 selected out of 300 nominees for the Washington World Fellow Program.

He was nominated by M-P AVID teacher Taya Schweizer. Advancement Via Individual Determination is all about preparing students for college. That has been especially helpful for Edgar because he plans to be the first in his family to accomplish that feat.

As one of the winners, Edgar will be going to Spain in a six-week program where he will earn 10 college credits. Schweizer said he was selected because of his work ethic, that he wants to give back and that he is “kind and humble.” He also will be junior class president next fall and is a standout on the soccer team, which won the Wesco North title this season.

Also at the meeting, resident Ron Friesen during the public comment period gave the board some advice on how to pass a bond.

He said voters have learned over the past 40 years that if a bond is rejected, the district will reduce it, then maybe reduce it again. By doing that, it sends voters the wrong message.

“They think there is too much fat, and that proves them right,” he said.

Supporters like him have to duck and cover because of all the negative. “Tell us what is truly needed, then ask again, and again, and again…”

Meanwhile, two topics dominated the work session prior to the meeting.

•Special education specialist James Stevens talked about the effort to give those students more choices.

Next year, eighth-graders will be able to select which high school they want to attend. Also, those students at M-P will be allowed to change to Marysville Getchell; for instance if a sibling goes there they might want to switch. And students may want to change because they want to attend the school in their neighborhood. Others have said they want to switch because of the shooting at M-P years ago.

Currently, there are five special ed teachers at MG and 13 at M-P, which has all 84 of the “higher needs kids.” About 22 percent of all special ed students attend M-P, while MG has 8 percent. “That’s a glaring difference,” Stevens said.

As a result of the change, MG expects to have eight and M-P 10 special ed teachers next year.

•The other main discussion item was the Integrated Student Data Dashboard. The program allows student academic data to be customized in so many ways. Teachers can use the data to figure out who may need extra help.

Some of the possible filters include: gender, career or college, special ed, low income, English language learners, attendance, ethnicity, AVID, CTE, STAR and Smarter Balanced Assessment data, and so on.

Greg Lobdell of the Center for Educational Effectiveness pulled up statistics of Kellogg Marsh Elementary as an example. He was able to show that over the past three years teachers cut in half the number of students in the fourth grade who were not meeting state standards. Another part of the program is schools can compare themselves to others, so they can “talk to other districts about what they can do to improve.”

With those interventions, students have a better chance of meeting the benchmark, he said.

The next step in the process is to make information available to the public. The main question was how much information?

“They’ll say we aren’t being transparent” if we hold anything back, school board member Chris Nation said.

Lobdell recommended surveying the public later, but Nation said that should be done first. He said if there isn’t at least a focus group first, the public will have lots of questions that will have to be looked at. Staff decided it will look at various options and bring a recommendation back to the board at a later date.

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